Vocational Education in India


Indranil Biswas


Throughout the post-independence period there have been many attempts to reform the Indian vocational education system and make it more applicable. The list of vocational education policy reforms that have been attempted over the last 60 years is quite extensive. Without raising standards, efforts have been made to go forward with market-oriented reforms to the vocational education system. This study mainly focuses on the present parallel (vocational) education system with the help of the indicative data. This article also proposes certain policy interventions in the parallel educational system.



Vocational education consists basically of practical courses through which one gains skills and experience directly linked to a career in future. It helps students to be skilled and in turn, offers better employment opportunities. These trainings are parallel to the other conventional courses of study (like B. Sc., M. Sc. etc.). Time management and meeting deadlines play an important role in success in a vocational course and during their studies students normally produce a portfolio of evidence (plans, reports, drawings, videos, placements), which is taken as a demonstration of students’ capabilities for a job. After finishing the courses, students are often offered placements in jobs. Vocational trainings in a way give students some work related experiences that many employers look for. According to a National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) report (No. 517, 61/10/03) two types of vocational trainings are available in India: a) Formal and; b) Non-formal. Formal vocational training follows a structured training program and leads to certificates, diplomas or degrees, recognized by State/Central Government, Public Sector and other reputed concerns. Non-formal vocational training helps in acquiring some marketable expertise, which enables a person to carry out her/his ancestral trade or occupation. In a way through such non-formal vocational training, a person receives vocational training through ‘hereditary’ sources. Often ‘Non-formal’ vocational trainings are also received through ‘other sources’. In such cases training received by a person to pursue a vocation, is not ancestral and is different from the trade or occupation of his/her ancestors.
Data and graphs used here are all indicative, not exhaustive.


Fig.1: Academic, Technical and Vocational parallel training structure/system in India-a flowchart

Source: Skill development in India: The vocational education and training system report no.-22 World Bank



Type of Institutions for Vocational training according to National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO):

Different institutions which impart vocational training can be classified into five categories: (i) Government, (ii) Local body, (iii) Private aided, (iv) Private unaided, and (v) not known. According to a NSSO report vocational training is received by only 10% of persons aged between 15-29 years. Out of this only 2% receive formal training, while non-formal training constitutes the remaining 8%. Out of the formal training received by that particular age group only 3% are employed. Most sought after field of training is computer related training. Only 20% of formal vocational training is received from ITI/ITCs. In India, technical education and vocational training system follows patterns like graduate - post graduate, engineer - technologists through training colleges, diploma from polytechnics and certificate level training in ITIs through formal apprenticeships.
The Vocational Training in India is imparted by mainly two types of bodies:

The Indian Government has invested a lot for the development of skills through ITIs. The DGE&T generally regulates these ITIs and ITCs at national level and implements policies for vocational training.


Training statistics of ITI/ITCs - main formal vocational training institutes in India:
Some of the principal training schemes are:

According to the Planning commission report for the 11th Five year plan there are about 5,114 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) imparting training in 57 engineering and 50 non-engineering trades. Of these, 1,896 are State Government-run ITIs while 3,218 are private. The total seating capacity in these ITIs is 7.42 lakh (4 lakh seats in government ITIs and the remaining 3.42 lakh in private ITCs). Figures below this text represent detailed information on the number and capacity of ITIs/ITCs in different states/UTs. A number of vocational training institutes are being run by private training providers. The formal training system of India starts at Grade 8 and above. According to a report of ILO, the quality of DGE&T’s skills development programmes compete with other programmes , such as high vocational schools (10 plus 2 stream), colleges, polytechnics, etc. The share of ITI-based training seems to capture around 10-12 per cent of the total number of school pass outs at Grade10 level.
Some training schemes provide by DGE&T other than Craftsmen Training Scheme (CTS) and Apprenticeship Training Scheme (ATS) are:



Fig.2: Number of ITIs under Government and Private bodies in main states of India

Source: Ministry of labour DGE&T



From the above graphs we may conclude that Tamil Nadu holds the majority stake in private owned ITCs and Maharashtra holds a similar position for Government owned ITIs.

Details about the nature of the training in ITIs etc. are available on the website of

National Council for Vocational Training’, an advisory body, was set up by the Government of India in the year 1956. The National Council is chaired by the Minister of Labour, with members from different Central and State Government Departments, Employers and Workers organizations, Professional and Learned Bodies, All India Council for Technical Education, Scheduled castes and Scheduled tribes, All India Women’s Organization, etc. And State Councils for Vocational Training at the State level and Trade Committees have been established to assist the NCVT. Main mandate of the NCVT, according to DGE&T, is to establish and award National Trade Certificates in engineering, non-engineering, building, textile, leather trades and such other trades which are brought within its scope by the Government of India. It also prescribes standards in respect of syllabi, equipment, scales of accommodation, duration of courses and methods of training. It also conducts tests in various trade courses and lays down standards of proficiency required for passing the examination leading to the award of National Trade Certificate etc.



Total number and capacity of ITIs and ITCs per million persons in India:



Fig.3 : Number of ITIs and ITCs available per million persons in different states in India

Source: The vocational education and training system report no.-22 World Bank.




Fig.4: Intake capacity of ITIs and ITCs per million persons in different states in India

Source: The vocational education and training system report no.-22 World Bank.



Statistics on persons (per thousand) who attend vocational training, according to duration of training and age groups of trained people:


Fig.5: Percentage  of persons who received vocational training in Rural India (per thousand person) (duration of training wise)
Fig.6: Percentage of persons who received vocational  training in Urban India(per thousand person)(duration of training wise)

Source: NSSO Report No. 517 year 2004-05


Fig.7: Number of person getting vocational training per thousand persons age group wise in India

Source: NSSO Report No. 517 year 2004-05


Despite efforts made to popularize these courses, several problems prevent ITIs/ITCs from reaching common masses and youth.


Paramedical training status for rural India:

Paramedical courses are one of the largest sources of vocational educated persons in the field of medical industry. Status of the total paramedical manpower in rural India is given in following graph.




Fig.8: Trained paramedical practitioners available in rural India

Source:  MHRD, Annual Report 2002-03, India Year Book 2008, Manpower profile


From the Figure above, it is clear that out of total 315,746 paramedical workers in rural India, 47% are female health workers. But extension workers are very few; almost 1%. We also need to focus on the availability of Radio Graphers, Pharmacists and Laboratory Technicians for rural India. To disseminate knowledge of basic health facilities we need to train more paramedical workers for rural India. But unfortunately at present they are few compared to the large size of the rural population.


Status in Schools:

Schools also provide vocational training formally at 10 and 12th level. The following figure shows the percentage stake of all major states, providing vocational training in India.


Fig.9: Percentage share of the schools imparting vocational training for some major states

Source: MHRD, Annual Report 2002-03, India Year Book 2008, Manpower profile


It is observed that states like Punjab, Orissa Tamil Nadu etc. hold approximately 79% stake in number of schools which impart vocational training. And Maharashtra is the foremost, holding more than 16%. Schools have an important role in vocational studies because one can start learning a vocation from his/her schools days. More coverage in school with proper infrastructure can create a large technical group in future, which at present is deficient.


Other Government and private bodies providing vocational training in India:


Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC): The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) impart training and awards vocational certificates for the unorganized sectors. The list of such training has been given in Table 1. KVIC (established in April 1957) is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament. It took over the work of former All India Khadi and Village Industries Board.

It has the main objective of generating employment; the other objective of producing saleable products; and the wider objective of creating self-reliance amongst the people and building up of strong rural community spirit.

Rural Employment Generation Programme (REGP) is the major programme of KVIC.  The main objective of this programme is employment generation in rural areas by setting up new village industries (except those on negative list) by availing loans from banks and margin money (middle end subsidy) being provided by KVIC. Beneficiaries own contributions should be minimum 10% of project cost for general category and 5% of project cost for special category. Banks will sanction 90% of the project cost in case of general category and 95% for project cost for special category beneficiary. Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) as a central scheme to be monitored by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MoMSME). The implementation body will be Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), a statutory organization under the administrative control of the Ministry of MSME as the single nodal agency at the National level. At the State level, the Scheme will be implemented through State KVIC Directorates, State Khadi and Village Industries Boards (KVIBs) and District Industries Centers (DICs) and banks. The Government subsidy under the scheme is routed by KVIC through the Banks for similar distribution to the beneficiaries / entrepreneurs in their Bank accounts. The Implementing Agencies, such as KVIC, KVIBs and DICs will associate with different Non Government Organizations (NGOs)/reputed autonomous institutions/Self Help Groups (SHGs)/ National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC)/Udyami Mitras empanelled under Rajiv Gandhi Udyami Mitra Yojana (RGUMY), Panchayati Raj institutions and other relevant bodies in the implementation of the Scheme. Here training, formally or informally, plays a crucial role for success for the schemes.


List of training institutes providing support for the schemes:

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Institutes (MSME-DIs), Tool Rooms and Technical Development Centers (Development Commissioner), National Small Industries Corporation’s (NSIC) offices, Incubators and Training cum Incubation Centers (TICs) set up in Public Private Partnership Mode. National level Entrepreneurship Development Institutes like National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development (NIESBUD), National Institute for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (NIMSME) and Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE), Guwahati (under MoMSME), and the Entrepreneurship Development Centers (EDCs).


According to the Annual Reports of KVIC in the year 2001-02 and 2004-05, three different categories of training namely, Khadi, Village Industries and EDP training existed. (The details of different categories are given in Table 1 in Appendix.)



Fig.10: Percentage of different social group trained by KVIC in the year 2001-02 and 2004-05

Source: India Year Book 2008



It is also observed that women’s participation has also increased for Khadi training from 52% to 82.1%. But the women’s participation fell from 47% to 30.9% and from 41.5% to 20% for Village industries and Other EAP/EDP trainings respectively. Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh Maharashtra Orissa, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttaranchal and UP are the main states where KVIC imparts maximum number of trainings.


Tool Room & Training Centers (DC, MSME):     Govt. of India has set up a few Tool Room & Training Centers of large size involving estimated cost of over Rs. 50 crores each, in order to provide facilities for design and manufacture of tools. Govt. of India have decided to assist the State governments by setting up Mini Tool Room and Training Centers.

The main objective of the Mini Tool Room & Training Centers would be-

The list of tool room institutes is given in Table 2 in appendix.


National Manufacturing Competitive Council (NMCC): This Body was set up by Govt. of India in the year of 2004 as a part of National Common Minimum Program to help in accelerated growth of GDP, primarily focusing on manufacturing Industry. According to the strategy for National Manufacturing-2006, vocational training plays a key role on this. According to a report by NMCC, if Indian manufacturing has to grow at around 12 percent per annum, it will be necessary for the education and training system to produce at least 1.5 million technically skilled people every year. It is estimated that the country would need an incremental requirement of about 20 million skilled technicians by 2015.

To support the growth of manufacturing, the policy highlights of NMCC on vocational training system are:


CAPART (Council for Advancement of Rural Technology): CAPART is playing a crucial role in implementing development activities through funding of different voluntary organizations. These voluntary organizations help rural people to enhance livelihood by giving them support through different modes of vocational training and related activities. CAPART has been formed by amalgamating the 'Council for Advancement of Rural Technology' (CART) and ‘People's Action for Development India’ (PADI). CAPART is an autonomous body registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860, under the aegis of the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India and it has been a major promoter of rural development in India, assisting over 12,000 voluntary organizations. (Details available on http://capart.nic.in)


SRI, Ranchi (Society for Rural Industrialization):  This society has major programme to impart training for the rural people. It mainly focuses on skill development of village youths. Training of trainers and management training are offered to other organizations including the government. The skill training includes courses on communication, personality building and enterprise management. It also offers short training courses on programme management for various National schemes for functionaries of NGOs and of Governments. SRI’s tie up with Indian Institute of Science, IIT-Kharagpur and CBRI-Roorkee on cost-effective construction is well known.(Details available on http://sriranchi.org/index.php)

Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission: Ramakrishna Math was established by Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1886). Ramakrishna Mission is a society (registered) in which monks and devotees of Ramakrishna Math cooperate in conducting various types of social services, mainly in India. It was founded by Sri Ramakrishna's chief apostle, Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), one of the foremost thinkers and religious leaders of the present age. Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission are legally and financially separate from each other but they are closely inter-related in several other ways, and are to be regarded as twin organizations. Vocational training is one of their most valuable inputs in development activity. The rural and tribal activities are mainly classified as: (i) General; (ii) Agricultural; (iii) Educational and Self-reliance training; and (iv) Medical. Within the classification of Educational and self-reliance training, free schools are run for children. Adult and non-formal education centers have been set up. Audio-visual shows, farmers’ fairs and the like are also organized. And a major activity is to help the formation of self-help groups and training schemes are organized for teaching lathe-turning, carpentry, bee-keeping, pisciculture, dairy-farming and poultry-farming, weaving, incense-stick rolling, etc to enable the rural and tribal community to achieve minimum livelihood. (Details available on: http://www.belurmath.org )

Some other institutes which impart vocational training like Gandhi Ashram in Wardha and Madurai are also important in this field. We could name a few like Nanaji Deshmukh and many other personalities who had done remarkable work in the vocational education field in rural areas.



The Eleventh Plan has taken an initiative to launch a National Skill Development Mission that may bring some changes in ‘Skill Development’ programmes and initiatives. The Mission will be operative under Prime Minister’s National Council on Skill Development for apex level policy directions, and under the National Skill Development Coordination Board, and a National Skill Development Corporation/Trust. The State governments will engage some of their Departments/Agencies for constituting a State Skill Development Mission. Some chosen private sectors (mainly twenty high growth sectors), will play an important part as the private arm of the Mission with an outlay of Rs 22,800 crores.

Constituents of Prime Minister’s National Council on Skill Development and National Skill Development Coordination Board will be the following:

The National Skill Development Corporation will be constituted as Government Equity with a view to obtaining about Rs 15,000 crore from the public and private sectors, and other bilateral and multilateral sources for the promotion of skill development. It will act as a non-profit company under the Companies Act, with appropriate governance structures (board of directors being drawn from outstanding professionals/experts).

The National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector (NCEUS):  It has been set up as an advisory body for the informal sector to bring about improvement in the productivity of these enterprises and for generation of large scale employment opportunities on a sustainable basis, particularly in rural areas. (Details available at: http://nceus.gov.in). 

Public Private Partnership (PPP):  Major emphasis has been given on the PPP mode in the Eleventh Five Year Plan. It focuses on the following:

The eleventh five year plan also envisions setting up an Apex skill development institute which will take initiatives on programme testing, certification, curriculum setting faculty development, introduction of new elective courses in IITs /IIMs etc.


State Govt. initiatives to be taken up in the 11th Five year plan are:

Main focus of the 11th five year plan is to forge a joint collaboration between the States and the Centre and also boost private partnerships to create an estimated 58.6 million new jobs in the domestic economy and about 45 million jobs in the international economy.
World Bank also has taken initiative through its Millennium Development Goal to impart training and elementary education in India.


Points to focus on:







Table 1: Tentative name of the course and its duration (KVIC)

Name/Nature of the Course

Tentative Duration




Khadi Technology

09 Months


Polyvastra Karyakarta

09 Months


Tailoring and Embroidery

05 Months




Village Oil Technician course

02 Months


Fibre Artisan Course

01 Month


Palm Fibre Brush Making

02 Months


Tappers Proficiency course

02 Months


Paper Conversion Course

02 Months


Spices and Masala Making

01 Month


Bakery Making course

02 Months


Supervisory Tec. Personnel

6 Months


Toilet and Laundry Soap

02 Months


Detergent cake making

01 Month


Shampoo Making

02 Weeks


White Phenol Making

02 Weeks


Liquid Detergent Soap

01 Week


Scoring Powder

01 Week


Other short term courses, i) Candle making

02  weeks


ii) Chalk Making

01 week


iii) Screen Printing

02 weeks


Paper bags & envelope making

02 Weeks


Fibre Purse making

01 week


Fibre Show piece making

01 week


Masala making

02 weeks


Bakery (Non-khatai mkg)

01 Week


Computer application prog.



Palm fibre brush making

01 Week


Village oil

01 Week



01 Month

Source: KVIC

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Table 2: Tool Room and Training centers list

Tool Rooms supported by SIDO

  1. Central Institute of Tool Design, Hyderabad
  2. Central Tool Room, Ludhiana
  3. Central Tool Room & Training Centre, Kolkata
  4. Central Institute of Hand Tools, Jalandhar
  5. Hand Tool Design & Training Centre, Nagaur
  6. Indo German Tool Room, Ahmedabad
  7. Indo German Tool Room, Aurangabad
  8. Indo German Tool Room, Indore
  9. Indo Danish Tool Room, Jamshedpur
  10. Central Tool Room & Training Centre, Bhubaneswar.

Tool Rooms supported by States

  1. Institute of Training & Tool Room, Lucknow.
  2. Govt. Tool Room & Training Centre, Bangalore.
  3. Tool Room & Training Centre, Delhi.
  4. Govt. Tool Room and Training Centre, Mysore.
  5. Tool Room & Training Centre, Mapusa (Goa).


Source: SIDO

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